By Katherine Ferguson
Photos Martha Macomber
The Hans Flat Ranger Station is 46 dusty, washboard miles off pavement, past lonely cows and through patches of orange dunes that look like Namibia; here is where the 4-day Maze bike trip begins. For some, this deep isolation may be unnerving—too far-flung from, well, anywhere. For others, the appeal is just that: a solution for distancing oneself from the harangue of modern-day life by seeking the other-worldly landscape of layered rock, carved by eons of winds, rains and wide temperature variations.
The dirt two-track offers riders a wide variation of terrain. A stout, high clearance 4×4 vehicle is vital to haul water, food and camping gear. Sometimes, the vehicle may also serve as a wind break and at other times a much-needed piece of shade. Plenty of rolling fast sections meander through desert flora. A few climbs will test max lung capacity and the Flint Trail descent may force some riders to choose to walk sections of the white-knuckle drops. It would be misleading to say there’s no sand…but it’s manageable. Depending on what Mother Nature has on tap, cyclists may encounter winds that can force them over and sandblast their legs and make them question why they decided this was such a great idea. Yet, the very next day, an intense silent stillness may prevail and when they stop to rest, the only sound might be a raven’s wingbeat through the dry desert air, the buzz of a fly, or a grasshopper’s clicking wings.
And then there are the giant views. It’s indescribable, really. Bagpipe Butte, Elaterite Butte and the Chocolate Drops are landmarks that help to mark progress and give perspective to the first few days of riding. Looking north, cyclists familiar with the area will be able to pick out Murphy’s Hogback, White Crack and Candlestick way across the Green River along the White Rim Trail. But it’s when you crest the meandering final climb on day 2, when you lay your bike on its side and walk to the edge of the Maze Overlook and peer into the heart of the Maze, that’s when you’ll know why you came. That’s when you’ll know that words cannot do justice to describe this aptly named place. This is when you will appreciate not only its stark beauty, but you’ll count your lucky stars that you’re fortunate enough to earn the opportunity to experience such a rare adventure.
Kate is the wife and mother of HRE guides! There is nothing she’d rather do than embark on a trip to the Utah desert. She loves reading, skiing, biking and playing with her kids and dogs.
You meet for this trip in the town of Green River, UT
Upcoming 2020 4-day Maze Mountain Biking Trips: Small groups! 7 guests maximum.